I know I haven’t been consistent with blogging recently, but that was because I had 3 competitions back to back for the first time in my life! First it was the Singapore National Age Group Swimming Championships, the National training squad then flew to Spain for the Spanish Open, and after Spanish Open 4 of us flew over to Arizona for the Mesa Grand Prix. To be honest, it is by far one of the most mentally and physically strenuous regimes that I’ve been through, but it was definitely an experience of a life time.
The key of these back to back competitions was to try and create the perfect moment and race even when our body feels sore and tired, which is really demanding for any swimmer. Despite that, some of us were still be able to finish with personal best times which really goes to show that you’ll be able to do well as long as you trust yourself!
To add on to the already tough regime, Sergio entered me in 7 events in total during Spanish Open and Mesa Grand Prix, which is more than what I usually swim in a competition. 7 events in 4 days was really no joke, and they happen to be really hard events as well! Just to give you an idea, in a span of 4 days, I swam the 100m Freestyle, 200m Freestyle, 400m Freestyle, 800m Freestyle, 1500m Freestyle, 200m Individual Medley, and 400m Individual medley.
All these events in 4 days, it was mad. I usually swim up to a maximum of 4 events in a competition, but according to Coach Sergio he wanted to “train me to become a man” which worked out pretty well as I’m mentally a lot tougher now which is a good lead up to the upcoming SEA Games in Singapore.
All of us were all drained by the time the competition ended, but we definitely became a lot tougher as a team and individuals. We’ve learnt no matter how tired we may be, we can still step it up when race day comes.
Swimming aside, our hotel was located just right beside the beach! I had a really peaceful view from my room. I spent most of my evenings at the beach as it was really relaxing and it helped me to ease the stress I had from all the racing that was going on. Of course, since we were so close to the beach, I decided to seize the opportunity to snap some photos! So yeah, going to share some of my favorite shots with you all 🙂
Also, here are 2 of my favorite photos:
Cherlyn capturing the moon – Took me many shots to be able to capture this!
Another shot whereby we were suppose to catch the plane, and this was what happened. After looking at this photo, I guess it’s better if we stick to swimming.
This pretty much sums up Spain, and a week after 4 of us went to Arizona. Arizona was like a desert, it was really dry and all of us had cracked skins and dry throats when we were competing, which made it really hard for all of us factoring in that it was already our 3rd competition. To add on to the already tough climatic conditions, I had to swim the same 7 distance events again, no chance was given to me, I guess that is the price to pay if I want to be a man.
Nonetheless, it was a great experience to be able to see Phelps and Lochte race each other and learn from them.
I’ll have to thank Zhen Ren for helping me capture this photo with Ryan Lochte! Really happy that I was able to grab a photo with one of the greatest Olympian of all time. This photo was taken straight after his race, and he was still panting when this photo was taken so you can say that he’s effortlessly photogenic.
On a side note, we were really lucky to have a fellow Singaporean family (whose kids are swimmers too) to host us during our stay over there! We went to their house for dinner before the competition started. I’ve learnt an important life lesson during my stay at their house, and I’ll share it with you all a story that Steve (guy on the right) told me.
As an athlete, you’ll always have self doubts about yourself, so often a times you worry about whether you’ll be able to achieve the goals you set yourself out for, but sometimes, it’s about living life until there is a ‘point of no return’, that way, you’ll be able to chase your dreams without anything holding you back.
So here’s the story:
There was a time whereby Army B tried to invade Army A’s land. Army A was clearly outnumber in resources and manpower. Unconvinced that they could win the war, Army A were thinking of giving up their land and retreating away in the ships they prepared.
“Burn the ships, we are not going anywhere. This is where we belong.” The General of Army A commanded.
So with the ships burnt, there were 2 choices left for Army A – To die, or to win the war, because there was no way to escape anymore. So with that do or die mentality, Army A went on and won the war.
Always remember, when chasing your dreams, don’t think of the what ifs. (What if I don’t make it, will there be a way out? What is my backup plan? Do I give up and take the safe route out?) Because by doing that, you are already setting yourself up for failure. Think of it as a one way street, and take a step at a time, don’t give yourself an excuse to fail, and chase your dreams wholeheartedly. If we all had the do or die mindset, we will be able to reach our goals. I’ll always keep this story in mind every time I have self doubts about myself.
To sum up this month’s worth of training and competitions, I’m glad to say that I’ve learnt a lot from these experiences, physically and mentally. To be able to learn from the best in the world, that is really an experience of a lifetime.
With 37 days to go with the SEA Games in Singapore, I’m really motivated to keep training hard and hope all the hard work will pay off when the SEA Games starts.
Off to the final stretch of training now!
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